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    Floating Hotels: 10 Aquatic Escapes of Luxury and Adventure
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Floating Hotels: 10 Aquatic Escapes of Luxury and Adventure

Floating Hotels — As land becomes more scarce, enterprising hoteliers need creative alternatives to brick, mortar and terra firma.  One increasingly common frontier is found in the waters beyond, where floating hotels have begun to claim space in the rivers, lakes and oceans around us. 

To celebrate the new trend of the floating hotel, we take a look at ten of the most remarkable floating hotels in the modern world. 

Prep your travel plans, get your sea legs comfortable and climb aboard ten hotels that put the tradition of turf in their wake.

Bota Bota Floating Spa – Montreal

Montreal’s Old Port is no stranger to new age hotels which capture the imagination and spirit of the North American traveler.  The Bota Bota Floating Spa of Montreal is not far from a stunning modern hotel built for the 1967 World Expo, Habitat ’67 by Moshe Safdie.  While Habitat ’67 became private housing after the fair ended, Bota Bota takes the baton of inspiration for future hotel living.  This rehabbed maritime masterpiece has become a luxury spa for residents and visitors of old Quebec, a place of aqua friendly retreat for the modern-minded.  The industrial ambiance around this spa only adds to its allure, a true gem of floating hotel excellence.  [curious about Habitat ’67? take a look at our exploration of 10 masterpieces of urban housing]

Bota Bota Floating Spa Gallery

Dream Boatel of Southern Australia

Tucked into a river north of Lake Alexandria, Australia, the Dream Boatel is one part luxury hotel, one part private cruise ship.  But unlike your traditional big ship vacation, Dream Botel is a destination in itself.  This private luxury retreat is built on the frame of a house boat, but has been given a contemporary appearance to incite the imagination.  This remarkable floating hotel can keep you for a night near Mannum, Australia, or can be reserved for a longer exploration of the coast of Southern Australia, with Adelaide as its pearl.

Dream Boatel Gallery

Brooklyn Boatel by Flux Factory

The trend of the “boatel” continues, this time in more familiar territory.  The Brooklyn Boatel by Flux Factory isn’t a singular boat, however, its a collection of rehabbed boats near Far Rockaway where New Yorkers can escape to camp-style comforts with waterfront amenities.  This dockside dormitory provides slow-paced living that can’t be found in Manhattan, but can be accessed by the MTA.  Book a boat, hit the Metro and you’re waterside for a weekend when the rest of the city can’t find sleep.

Brooklyn Boatel Gallery

Onsen Bath Boat

Who would have thought a tugboat-style ship could be a zen retreat for the modern day escapist?  The Onsen Bath Boat is precisely that, a brilliantly-restored wooden wonder that is designed to put miles of emptiness around its passengers.  A zen-inspired interior removes all the worries of the day while the rocking of the seas brings a visitor to total harmony with the natural world.  Leave your mobile phone, laptop and active conscience behind– in this floating hotel, all you need to focus on is your swiftly subsiding sense of self.

Onsen Bath Boat Gallery

River Kwai Floating Hotel – Thailand

The famed River Kwai, known for a lot more than its Hollywood history, is the home of one of the world’s most remote, most eco-conscious floating hotels.  The River Kwai Floating Hotel spans a length of snaking, suspended sections that float on the very waters of the River Kwai in the Thai jungle.  It’s accessible only by boat, which begins the journey from civilization to peace within the winding Kwai.  The hotel’s collection of thatched roof buildings all line the river, each with its own patio that is filled with local exotic plants.  A hotel like this redefines the term “getaway”.

River Kwai Floating Hotel Gallery

USS Silversides Floating Camp

Now more than 70 years old, the USS Silversides saw more action than nearly any other underwater vessel in its day.  It sank 23 ships during the second world war, enough collective tonnage to give it the most prolific combat record of any American submarine that still stands today.  No longer in action, the Silversides is now an overnight retreat for history buffs and youth camps around the United States.  Both its exterior and interior are remarkably well-preserved, and its guests are treated to an authentic WWII experience without any costly action.  TheCoolist’s own Mike Payne stayed here at the ripe age of 12, keeping the bunk in the upper right corner of the upper right picture in the gallery below.  He did not, however, have the guts to climb into the torpedo tube in the front of the picture, which was a rite of passage for the Silverside’s guests, both during the war and still today.

USS Silversides Floating Camp Gallery


CPH Living Barge Hotel

This new-age floating hotel in the city center of Copenhagen continues this global city’s push for practical, sustainable living.  The CPH Living barge hotel is a 12-unit modern retreat with a visual emphasis on the watery environment of contemporary Copenhagen.  Its interiors are open, cool and white, while its exterior feels like a classic mid-century motel with a very different storyline.  The fenced balcony above gives its inhabitants a private view of this important city, without the need for a night in a pricey Denmark dormitory.

CPH Living Floating Hotel Gallery

MV Aria Boutique Floating Hotel

No hotel will give you a better view of the Amazon River than this one, the amazing MV Aria Boutique Floating Hotel.  This houseboat-gone-wild provides a group of luxury hotel rooms for the Peruvian traveler, with views of the sweeping Amazon river and the jungle beyond.  It is luxury travel like no other, providing boutique amenities and privacy without being stuck in one place.  Besides, you can avoid the whole “cruise stigma” of slot machines and mickey mouse ears on this one.  You’re in a private retreat where only relaxation and nature will get in your way of having a good time.  And who ever complained about that?

MV Aria Boutique Floating Hotel Gallery

Harlingen Lifeboat Hotel

This lifeboat spent decades saving lives in the North Sea, but it has retired to a life of luxury in The Netherlands.  Today, the Harlingen Lifeboat Hotel serves overnight guests with a bit of old-style charm in port cities around Northern Europe.  Its cabins are quite exclusive, as are its ports.  The Harlingen Lifeboat Hotel is small, more of a vacation rental than a traditional hotel, available starting at 229 euros per evening.  That’s a slight sum compared to what one might pay for a night in those Victorian homes in the distance above…

Harlingen Lifeboat Hotel Gallery

Salt and Sill Barge Hotel

Not far from the Harlingen Lifeboat, the Salt and Sill Barge Hotel serves the seas of Sweden in a roaming fashion.  This floating hotel features an array of rooms with views that change as it passes across the watery environs of Northern Europe.  The interiors and the deck above are the true treat, where relaxing furnishings and a simple ambiance make the Salt & Still a destination in its own right.  The best part?  This destination changes as you float along the cool waters of the Baltic, North and Norwegian Seas proper.

Salt and Sill Barge Hotel Gallery

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